I Hate this Place
We had an opportunity to be involved in some analysis and proposals for freeing employees in a company that was involved in the manufacture of aerospace equipment. Things had not been going too well, and one afternoon the plant manager was replaced by an experienced manager from another part of the country.
The new manager was knowledgeable about applications of the theory and practice of the social sciences in industry. In fact, he could quote most of the significant social studies in industry and explain their consequences and effects. He spoke positively about the importance of the people in the organization and in industry in general. Confidentially, we were advised that he was new to the area, and we might find that his actual management practices might be different from his expressed philosophy.
After a period of analysis and several visits to the plant, we were ready to offer some suggestions for ways to stabilize employee relations and put the plant back on target for achieving some of its stated technical goals, like reduction in the production and delivery of airplane parts. We met with members of top management, who deferred to the plant manager more frequently than usual, and began to introduce some of our ideas. The first suggestion was met with intense questioning about its relevance and possible difficulty of implementation. Although we had about 10 general suggestions, by the time we got to the third idea, we had the distinct impression that freeing employees was of very low priority. In a private meeting off the premises, a member of the management team expressed a deep apology for the manner in which our ideas had been received and indicated that an effort would be made to implement some of them in spite of the plant manager. Things did not progress as the new plant manager had expected. In this case, as with many others, freeing the employees would have been much more important to accomplishing the technical goals than new equipment or new work procedures.